A few years ago I had the honor of covering THING-FEST at Days of the Dead Indianapolis where Canadian super-fan, Joe Hart, brought his immense assortment of props and collectibles associated with John Carpenter’s The Thing. Joe has a heart of gold and his enthusiasm for the movie, coupled with his enviable collection, made for one unforgettable weekend! Many of the actors from the film were on hand as well and one of my favorite moments was getting a photo with Thomas G. Waites (“Windows”) along with the actual microphone prop he’d used in the movie. I’ll always be grateful to Days of the Dead for hosting Mr. Hart as it was the magnetic pull of his collection that inspired me to cross state lines and attend!
Monsters. Those things that as a child scared us, gave us nightmares and provided us with so many hours of fun. If you were like me you grew up on monsters. I was never into playing (or watching for that matter) sports of any kind. My Saturday afternoons were spent in front of the television trying to draw in with rabbit ears channel 56 out of Boston, Massachusetts, with their weekly Creature Double Feature show. In the safety of daylight I was thrilled week after week with giant bugs, Godzilla and all of the Universal and Hammer classics.
Earlier this year I did a blog on the company REMCO Toys, emphasizing their monster figure line (seen HERE). Not only was this a great introduction to the toys, but it also introduced us to Kris Mobley, an artist who grew up with these toys and wanted to create a limited edition tribute to the Creature From The Black Lagoon figure.
The Daves would like to once again welcome guest blogger Brandon Engel to this site, expressing his opinions on the best monster movies of the 1980’s!
An argument can be made the 1980s was the true golden age of the monster movie — a time when no theme was deemed too ridiculous and just about any inanimate object could become consumed by evil. Here are some of the “best” monster movies from the decade that gave us Pac-Man and Madonna:
On Saturday April 4th, we arrived back in Chicago (after doing TWO zoos; Louisville and Indianapolis) and ate lasagna at my place before relaxing on this final night of our vacation. We hunkered down for the night and watched two movies together; the old sci-fi classic, It Came from Outer Space, and a new movie David had gotten on Blu-ray called Digging up the Marrow. Though we’d watched several movies during our trip on DVD, including Wolfcop (which was okay), Love in the Time of Monsters (which was also okay), What we do in the Shadows (which was really funny), Animal (which we liked), Dark Haul (which was bad) and Muck (which was even WORSE) we inadvertently saved the best for last!
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to welcome guest writer, and winner of our “Hidden Horror Contest,” Mark Spangler!
Book Review: “The Monster Show”
By Mark Spangler
“All monsters are expressions or symbols of some kind of birth process, however distorted or bizarre.” So says David J. Skal in the opening sentence of chapter ten in his book “The Monster Show” (W.W. Norton & Company). Don’t let the name fool you. Like many a horror film (“I Married A Monster From Outer Space” comes to mind), there’s much more substance lurking behind the exploitative title than the name – or any name – could possibly indicate. The subtitle, “A cultural history of horror” is a much more accurate depiction of what the reader will find in these well-researched and analyzed 432 pages. From a fun-filled exploration of teen-oriented films on the 50’s drive-in circuit to an examination of the role that horror film escapism played in helping to digest the real-life calamities of 20th century war, this book runs the gambit from the terrific terrors of the silver screen to a common-sense analysis of why these motion pictures are not only fun, but of vital importance to the culture. No stop is ignored in this horrific journey and we joyfully ride along with Mr. Skal as he explores the brilliance and tragedy of director Tod Browning’s early film work, the European influence on early-American horror cinema, freakshow biographies, , monster-comedy, and two monster kid classics; “Famous Monsters of Filmland” and Aurora model monster kits (I had the Mummy). We also visit the artistry of make-up professionals throughout the history of the film industry, reflect upon the horror-inspired artwork of Diane Arbus, visit the late and beloved Forrest J. Ackerman in his “Ackermansion”, examine technical tidbits of films old and new and finally end up with the real-life terrors of HIV, the Gulf War and Oprah.